Hey Guys, Jamin here again on this fabulous Saturday.
Today I’m spending a little time catching up on some winter chores and prepping the home for winter in the tropics. I know. Let the laughing begin, as if we have a “real winter” down here. It’s cold to us tropical southerners. Lately, we’ve been all about less excess, and cutting back in every way that we can. So I thought I’d share 5 simple energy saving tips that will help you save a little money and stay warmer for less. Most of these you can do without much effort, time or expense.
1. Change those filters. One of the most over looked and easiest ways of saving money for your home is change those filters. A lot of people try to stretch the life of their filters, thinking they can save a few extra dollars by turning a one month into a two month… or a three month into a five month filter. Unfortunately, you are actually spending more money with this thought process. If you don’t keep clean filters you are causing your system to work harder, which in turn will cost you more money.
Make sure to change them once their time is up depending on the kind you buy. Also, did you know you can buy washable filters? This can save you even more. They are a little more expensive up front, but you don’t have to change them. Just simply wash them out and reinstall them. It’s good for the environment and good for the bottom line.
2. Recaulk your windows. The Department of Energy estimates that the average home has drafts that when combined, total a 9 foot hole in a wall. 9 feet, people! You can solve this problem with a little caulk. It can be a little messy, but with the right caulk it will wash away with water. We recommend DAP.
A little finder’s tip: The easiest ways to find a draft in your house is to wait for a windy day, and walk around with a candle. If it flickers in front of a door or window, mark it with some painters tape and come back to it.
On a side note: It’s good practice to recaulk your entire house every two years anyway.
Applying the caulk is simple. Pull the trigger and move slowly along the seal applying enough caulk to cover the seam. Then come back over it with a wet paper towel or finger to wipe away the excess. It really is that simple, and can help cut down on lost heat or cooling.
(Check out a visual demonstration here.)
3. Check your weather stripping. While you are caulking, make sure to check your weather stripping around your doors and windows. In combination with the caulk, this will help you reduce heat loss through (that 9 foot hole) those small cracks and cut down on drafts in your house. You can learn more than you ever wanted to know from the department of energy.
4. Wrap your pipes. If you live in a home with a basement, make sure to wrap your pipes with insulation. If you are like us and don’t have a basement, but have a few short feet of pipe exposed, even wrapping these short sections is a good idea.
In cold climates insulation helps decrease the chance of pipes freezing, which can be disastrous. In warm weather, insulation cuts down on sweating by cold water pipes which can encourage mold growth. (Gross.)
You can buy pre-slit foam at The Home Depot, it is as simple as cutting to size and sliding on. Not to mention you can buy 12 feet of it for under $2. Make sure to clean the pipes before you wrap them!
And don’t forget those outside faucets. Put some covers on them as well. You can buy one for under a $1 and it will help seal your home off from the outside cold as well as keep those pipes safe.
5. Change the direction of your ceiling fan. Probably the easiest thing to do and one of the most over looked, is this simple change. Yep, in the winter. By doing this you will help distribute warmer air where it is needed. Some studies say this will save as much as 15% on heating bills. Remember to keep the fan on low, otherwise you will create a wind/chill effect and defeat your purpose.
We hope this little list will help you save a little where you can, and preserve your home in the extreme temps. I’m off to knock out this simple and helpful energy saving list, then play with the kids. Tomorrow, we will knock out a few more to help save money and be a little friendly to our environment. What simple steps are you guys taking to get ready? They make a big difference! Have an inspired day, everyone!